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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Grant supports geriatric nursing

By Darcy Posselli

The John A. Hartford Foundation has awarded the U’s College of Nursing $1 million in funds that will be used to educate and train nurses in geriatric care and establish the U Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence.

“The University of Utah Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence will prepare nurses for a rapidly changing population and, specifically, will prepare nurse faculty to educate new generations of nurses,” said Lorris Betz, senior vice president for health sciences.

It is expected that 19 million people will be 85 years of age or older in less than 50 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The demands of the number of nurses who are specialized in geriatrics will increase as well. According to the Census Bureau, geriatric care is important because illnesses in older patients are often more complex than in younger people.

“Nurses have always had specialty education in pediatrics. Only recently has the profession realized that specialty education in geriatrics is equally necessary,” said Ginny Pepper, the executive director of the Hartford Center. “As the population lives longer and wants a high quality of life, geriatric nursing will aid that quest.”

Maureen Keefe, dean of the College of Nursing, said the Hartford Center will help train more nurses by increasing the number of faculty qualified to teach geriatric nursing.

“Utah has the country’s most serious shortage of geriatric nurses and the most rapidly growing population,” Pepper said. “We have developed a strategy to address this through the education of geriatric nurses and the faculty to educate those nurses.”

The U’s College of Nursing has a 30-year commitment to geriatric nursing, which entails nationally known faculty, strong collaborative partners and age-related research. The funding will help the U’s College of Nursing strengthen its interdisciplinary collaboration between geriatric education, practice and research, said Christopher Nelson, a spokesman for Betz’s office.

“This is one of several significant recent awards that places the College of Nursing among the most elite schools in the nation,” Keefe said.

The Hartford is one of nine centers to receive funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation, along with Arizona State University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Minnesota. The funds were given as part of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence initiative, which focuses on education, research and practice.

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